I received a review copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 5 stars Series: yes - book 2
Regency housemaid Euphemia Reeves has acquired a faerie godfather. Unfortunately, he has no idea what he’s doing.
Effie has most inconveniently fallen in love with the dashing Mr Benedict Ashbrooke. There’s only one problem; Effie is a housemaid, and a housemaid cannot marry a gentleman. It seems that Effie is out of luck until she stumbles into the faerie realm of Lord Blackthorn, who is only too eager to help Effie win Mr Ashbrooke’s heart. All he asks in return is that Effie sew ten thousand stitches onto his favourite jacket.
Effie has heard rumours about what happens to those who accept help from faeries, but life as a maid at Hartfield is so awful that she is willing to risk even her immortal soul for a chance at something better. Now, she has one hundred days – and ten thousand stitches – to make Mr Ashbrooke fall in love and propose. . . if Lord Blackthorn doesn’t wreck things by accident, that is. For Effie’s greatest obstacle might well prove to be Lord Blackthorn’s overwhelmingly good intentions.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
TEN THOUSAND STITCHES is a Cinderella tale with a twist, a book all about anger. It has both the bad side of anger, the impotent rage of the Ashbrokes that causes them to lash out and hurt those below them (without ever thinking about the fact it will hurt others), and also the anger at injustice that forces you to act. Effie is full of anger and the book is about her coming to terms with the fact that anger isn’t always a good thing – it depends on how it’s used.
The romance does not go as you might expect from the blurb, which I was very pleased about. At around the halfway mark, I decided there was an ending I wanted, which would have felt more satisfying than the one I thought the blurb was setting up, and lo and behold that was the ending I got.
I loved seeing Lord Blackthorn again! He has a very small moment in HALF A SOUL, where he talks to Dora about what makes someone virtuous, which sets him on his path in this book. He’s just so much fun, and steals so many scenes. He has so much enthusiasm – and so little understanding of reality – that his actions have unintended consequences.
With the involvement of Lord Blackthorn, there is more time spent in (and direct involvement from) faerie, which was very nice. We return briefly to Hollowvale to see the changes there, but mostly spend time in Blackthorn itself. I love the idea of lands choosing lords and how that affects interaction. As the name suggests, Blackthorn is a vegetation heavy land that has its own plans for people, and is not above a few small but deft manipulations!
There are a few cameos to HALF A SOUL, but the book stands completely on its own. Hollowvale and Theodora are featured, as is Abigail. And there are a few references to Dora and Elias, but nothing that cannot be understood if you haven’t read the previous book. These are companions sharing the same world which can be read in any order (hence the spines just give the series name without a number.)
Read my reviews of other books by Olivia Atwater:
Regency Faerie Tales (this series):